President Goodluck Jonathan has on Monday declined to acced to National Population Commission’s request for his presidential proclamation to enable it conduct the 2016 census.
The commission’s chairman, Eze Duruiheoma (SAN), disclosed this to State House correspondents after leading other members of the board to a closed-door meeting with Jonathan inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The NPC boss said the team could not secure the proclamation at the meeting but expressed the hope that it would be done in a matter of days.
Duruiheoma further said although there ought to be a general census in 2016 since the last one was conducted in 2006, preparations for the exercise could not start until there is a presidential proclamation on the matter.
“The last census was in 2006, so in 2016 there ought to be another exercise, so we have come to tell Mr. President about that because we cannot commence until he says go ahead and the go-ahead is by way of proclamation.
“Our mission here is to seek Mr. President’s proclamation on the matter, to tell us to go ahead with the exercise so that we can hit the road running,” he said.
Duruiheoma made a case for continued enlightenment of Nigerians on the purpose of census as a way of curbing the controversies that always trail the exercise in the country.
He described revenue sharing and representation in the National Assembly as ephemeral, saying the purpose of census was more than those.
“Some people see it (census) most often in terms of revenue, which is an ephemeral thing.
“Yes revenue, which is a very transient thing and maybe representation in the House but these things are not as important as providing credible data that can aid development over time.
“If you look at the problems confronting us as a nation today, all of them derive from a single fact that we lack data and because we lack data, we don’t plan. So that is what I think we should be looking at.
“As far as I am concerned, it is only bragging, that we currently do, with some people saying they are more in number than others but those things are not important,” he added.